Pitru Paksha and Its Spiritual Importance (Honoring Our Ancestors)

Pitru Paksha and Its Spiritual Importance

During Pitru Paksha, Hindus honor their ancestors to provide them with eternal peace. This observance occurs over a significant period of 16 days, coinciding with the waning moon from September to October. This time holds great merit for paying respects to departed souls, parents, and relatives. This year it starts on September 29 and ends 14th October, and people offer prayers, food, and water to their ancestors.

Why Should You Perform Shraadh?

After a person’s passing, their soul is said to wander in the Pitru Loka – a realm located between earth and heaven, due to their Karma or unfulfilled desires, or if they were caused hurt by someone. The soul can only break free from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth if it detaches itself from worldly pleasures. 

Therefore, their living kin must perform the Shradh and Tarpan rituals regularly, particularly during Pitru Paksha, to release them from the bonds that hold them in the afterlife. 

The significance of abstaining from worldly desires during this time is exemplified by the legendary tale of Karna. Let us delve into this narrative to better grasp the importance of this period.

The Story Associated with Karna and Pitru Paksha

Karna, also known as Danveer Karna, was renowned for his extraordinary acts of charity. Upon his arrival in heaven after his passing, his immense generosity was rewarded a hundredfold. Nonetheless, upon reaching the Pitru Loka, he discovered a lack of one necessity: food. Despite the comfort surrounding him, this crucial requirement was unfulfilled.

Karna, despite his generous nature, questioned why he suffered from prolonged hunger. Seeking answers, Yamraj, the God of death, appeared before him to explain. To make amends, Karna was granted a new lease on life for two weeks, allowing him to return to Earth and provide food to those in need. 

Additionally, since Karna had neglected the Shradh and Tarpan rituals for his ancestors, he took the opportunity to perform them and honor his deceased family members. Through his acts of charity and reverence, Karna sought to find solace and redemption.

Hence during the 16 days, the Hindu religion honors their ancestors with utmost reverence through the act of offerings, charitable donations, and alms. This ancient practice, deeply ingrained in the Hindu faith, holds immense significance, particularly during the ‘pitrapaksh’ period. 

With unwavering purity and solemnity, Hindus pay homage to their departed loved ones, firmly believing in the enduring blessings bestowed upon them. These cherished ancestral blessings are believed to guide and accompany individuals throughout their entire lives, serving as a constant source of support.

5 NGOs Where Your Donations Can Help

This year, we humbly urge you to contribute to the noble cause of supporting various organizations that tirelessly provide food to thousands of individuals every day. To assist you in this endeavor, we have curated a list of 5 reputable NGOs.

1. Akshay Patra

Akshay Patra’s vision and mission are to ensure that no child in India goes without education due to hunger. Their goal is to feed 3 million children by 2025. They aim to tackle classroom hunger and malnutrition, providing meals to children who lack resources but have a strong desire to learn. 

By nourishing these children with a daily meal, Akshay Patra motivates them to pursue education and build a brighter future. Their focus is on supporting the health and education of children through the provision of nutritious mid-day meals at the grassroots level of society.

2. Uday Foundation 

Uday Foundation’s philanthropic efforts extend to providing nourishment to a significant number of underprivileged patients and caregivers who reside outside medical facilities. 

With a remarkable commitment, the Uday Foundation ensures that 120,000 individuals receive free meals every month. Their selfless dedication to feeding the less fortunate demonstrates their unwavering desire to alleviate hunger and support those in need.

3. The Leprosy Mission Trust India

The Leprosy Mission team firmly believes that every person deserves access to proper nutrition and care. As you read this, hundreds of individuals affected by leprosy are recuperating in their 16 hospitals spread across 9 states in India. 

Their journey towards recovery is not solely dependent on medical treatment, but it also entails providing them with the nourishment they require to regain their strength and lead fulfilling lives.

4. Cuddles Foundation

Cuddles Foundation is a non-profit organization that operates exclusively in India, and its main goal is to help children suffering from cancer fight the disease through a holistic nutritional approach. 

The foundation’s FoodHeals program currently operates in 35 government and charity hospitals across 20 cities in India, aiming to bridge the nutrition gap in children with cancer. Over the past year, the Cuddles Foundation has provided nutrition counseling to more than 6,000 patients, ensuring that they receive the right nutrition for their treatment.

5. No Hungry Child

The ongoing initiative known as No Hungry Child is a project devoted to making a difference in the lives of underprivileged children throughout India. To ensure transparency and accountability, numerous reputable NGOs across the country have been entrusted with the task of collecting funds on behalf of the project. 

The primary focus of No Hungry Child is to combat hunger by providing daily nutritious and hygienic meals to these vulnerable children, as we strongly believe that no child should ever go hungry in India. No Hungry Child today is associated with Registered NGOs that have offices in Bangalore Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai/Pune, Delhi/Meerut, and Jamshedpur, with our workforce spread across the whole of India.

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